Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Read All About It!!

I know some of you may be saying that the Sailor is really beating a dead horse on the matter of bias in the media. That may be so, but I do believe people need to know that the so called "Mainstream" media, the group that many people depend on to provide them with the information they need to form their opionons on who will best lead this country, is a biased as it can be. James Glassman goes into some detail on this subject. He also delves into how the left has deluded itself into the reasons for it's recent defeats. - Sailor

Read All About It!!

By James K. Glassman Published 06/29/2004
Tech Central Station

The headline on my copy of a touted new survey by the Pew Research Center read, "Press Going Too Easy on Bush."

Now there's a story!

It was late May, and the media had spent the past three months celebrating vicious antagonists of the administration like Richard Clarke, trashing not only George Bush himself but also practically all of his policies and key advisors: Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, Wolfowitz.

It was odd, I thought, that under these circumstances the public would think the press was going easy on the President.

Then I read the report.

The opiners described in that headline weren't average Americans. They were members of the press corps itself. The Pew study found that 55 percent of national journalists believed that "press treatment of Bush was not critical enough." Only 8 percent thought it was "too critical."

The public, however, had the opposite view: 24 percent thought the press was going too easy on Bush; 34 said it was too tough.

The press and the public remain, in the words of the Media Research Center, "worlds apart."

This split has been visible ever since a groundbreaking article 23 years ago in AEI's Public Opinion magazine. In it, academics Robert Lichter and Stanley Rothman presented results of a careful study of media elites. They discovered that from 1964 to 1976, 81 percent of journalists voted for the Democratic Presidential candidate.

A later survey by Freedom Forum found that 89 percent of Washington-based reporters voted for Bill Clinton in 1992 and only 7 percent for George H. W. Bush. Meanwhile, 59 percent viewed the 1994 Republican "Contract with America" as a "campaign ploy," while just 3 percent called it a "serious reform proposal." The public disagreed, and the GOP captured the House for the first time in four decades.

Today, the media and the public are drifting even farther apart. In the new Pew study, 34 percent of national journalists describe themselves as "liberal," compared with 22 percent in 1995. Only 7 percent of reporters say they are conservative at present. For the general public, the results are again reversed: 33 percent of Americans call themselves conservatives; 20 percent, liberals.

On social issues, the gap is even wider. For example, the national press states by a margin of 91 percent to 6 percent that "belief in God is not necessary to be moral." The general public says, to the contrary, that belief in God is necessary, by a margin of 58 percent to 40 percent.

The Pew study appeared the same week as a new book by David Brock titled "The Republican Noise Machine: The Right-Wing Media and How It Corrupts Democracy." Brock's book comes on the heels of "What Liberal Media? The Truth About Bias and News," by Eric Alterman, and "Big Lies: The Right-Wing Propaganda Machine and How It Distorts the Truth," by Joe Conason.

This fantasy that the Left gets a raw deal from the national press is broadly shared by journalists. Incredibly, Pew found that only 2 percent of the national press corps identified CNN, CBS, NBC, ABC, or National Public Radio as liberal -- though 69 percent leapt to call FOX News conservative.

But, in one hopeful sign, many in the press understand that the New York Times is increasingly a journal of liberal advocacy, not the "newspaper of record." Among national journalists, 20 percent identify the Times as liberal, while only 4 percent attach that label to the Washington Post.

In their commentary on the Pew study, executives of the Committee of Concerned Journalists and the Project for Excellence in Journalism suggested, "The fact that journalists are more likely to see a conservative tilt in the news than a liberal one...could be a sign of liberal bias."

No kidding. In recent years the Left has convinced itself that its defeats have been caused by FOX News and conservative talk radio shows distorting national opinion. The truth is that thanks to growing public skepticism of broadcast and print journalism that is often openly biased, and new access to direct news sources through the Internet, people are making up their own minds.

That's the big new media story of the last decade: "Americans Tune Out Biased Press, Form Own Views." Read all about it!

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